In an interview with Business Week Polska, [Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, the new Prime Minister] said he thinks that supermarkets should be forbidden to open on Sundays, that the state should establish maximum prices for drugs and books and that the state should finance higher education. As for the healthcare system, Marcinkiewicz admits, however, that patients should be free to choose their insurer - to decide whether they prefer to be insured by a public or private institution. Still, the PiS party program calls for a centrally managed public healthcare system with compulsory public insurance.The article makes a very important point about what may have happened last Sunday in Poland. It would seem on the surface that Poland made "a dramatic shift to the right." But a closer analysis suggests that after the elections "the statism supporters make up over 70 percent of the Polish parliament." So even though the coalition will consist of PiS and PO, the majority of Poles voted for the status quo and only shifted their preferences from ex-Communists (SLD) to other pro-social parties.
The PiS program is rather pro-social, meaning apart from public relief programs such as the one mentioned above, state guaranties of credits for houses and flats also many other socialist solutions: state control over the economy, slower privatization of public firms and state financed science and research. The party promises honesty and justice in public life. To fight rapidly spreading corruption, which is a direct result of the vast public administration and its power over the law, the party proposes to... enlarge the administration (the department of internal control). Clearly, the PiS believes the fact that in Poland clerks and politicians are corrupt; the fact that some 20 percent of people are unemployed and many live in poverty does not tell them the system is ineffective and devastating for the country, but rather that the system only needs some adjusting.
According to the PiS its program would lead to a "New Social Deal" to "Make all Poles profit from economic growth and not only the very limited number of the richest people". Yet, the party does not want to achieve this by making people more free but by controlling them more. The problem is also that the PiS program is just a collection of wishes and promises with the biggest promise of them all that PiS politicians are honest and can guarantee the money they take people is safe and will not be squandered.
The Jews who were freed from Egyptian slavery wandered for 40 years in the desert before arriving in the Promised Land. Poles have been wandering the desert of Socialism for 15 years now.
The latest Bill Bennett kerfuffle leads us to think that the culture of political correctness that surrounds race in America may be in its final throes. Bennett and a caller to his radio show the other day were discussing a hypothesis in Steven Levitt's book "Freakonomics" (available from the OpinionJournal bookstore): that the explosion of abortion after Roe v. Wade depleted the number of potential criminals and thus helped reduce the crime rate. Bennett rejected such utilitarian pro-abortion arguments:
It's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could--if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.
The ragemongers at MediaMatters.org ginned up a controversy over Bennett's remarks, and the ritual expressions of outrage followed, as the Washington Post reports:
Bennett's comments . . . were quickly condemned by Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who issued a statement demanding that Bennett apologize. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) circulated a letter, signed by 10 of his colleagues, demanding that the Salem Radio Network suspend Bennett's show.
Wade Henderson, the executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, demanded that the show be canceled.
"Bennett's statement is outrageous. As a former secretary of education, he should know better," Henderson said. "His program should be pulled from the air."
Today the White House joined in: "The president believes the comments were not appropriate," the Associated Press quotes press secretary Scott McClellan as saying.
But Bennett also has his defenders. One of them is the liberal journalist Matthew Yglesias:
Not only is Bennett clearly not advocating a campaign of genocidal abortion against African-Americans, but the empirical claim here is unambiguously true. Similarly, if you aborted all the male fetuses, all those carried by poor women, or all those carried by Southern women, the crime rate would decline. Or, at least, in light of the fact that southern people, poor people, black people, and male people have a much greater propensity to commit crime than do non-southern, non-black, non-poor, or non-male people that would have to be our best guess. The consequences, clearly, would be far-reaching and unpredictable, but the basic demographic and criminological points here can't be seriously disputed.
Keep in mind, too, that black leaders and liberal politicians constantly harp on the high incarceration rate of black Americans--so much so that John Kerry* was caught last year exaggerating it. Yet somehow it's considered invidious to point out that blacks, or black men at any rate, have a higher crime rate than nonblacks?
We can't help but wonder if part of the outrage over Bennett's remark isn't precisely his view that aborting black babies is immoral. After all, the official position of the Democratic Party is that abortion not only is not immoral but is a fundamental constitutional right, as long as the mother consents. And although MediaMatters claims that Levitt's argument has nothing to do with race, blogger Bob Krumm notes that in a 2001 paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Levitt and John Donohue expressly link black abortion to reduced crime:
Fertility declines for black women are three times greater than for whites (12 percent compared to 4 percent). Given that homicide rates of black youths are roughly nine times higher than those of white youths, racial differences in the fertility effects of abortion are likely to translate into greater homicide reductions.
In other words, whereas Bennett rejects the idea of reducing crime by aborting black babies, Levitt and Donohue argue that that is exactly what has happened over the past three decades, as a result of liberal policies. If they are right, there is, to say the least, a fundamental tension between blacks and pro-abortion feminists, two of the core components of the Democratic coalition. No wonder Bennett's comments have caused such discomfort on the left.
So why do we see this as a sign of political correctness's decline? Well, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, we kept hearing from our liberal friends that what this country needs is an honest discussion of race. Of course, liberals who call for a discussion of race never actually want it to be honest. Rather, they want to engage in the old familiar ritual in which blacks air their grievances, white liberals trumpet their moral superiority, the rest of us shut up and listen, and dissenters are shamed and silenced (see John Conyers's and Wade Henderson's demands regarding Bennett, above).
Our sense, however, is that this old ritual no longer has the same power it once did, and that as a result, liberals actually are getting the honest discussion about race that they have long demanded. If so, their worst fears are coming true.
* A man so white, he looks French!
In a shocking victory, PiS (the conservative Law & Justice party) won the general election on Sunday according to exit polls. The PO (centrist Civic Platform), which had led all of the popular opinion polls in recent weeks came in second.Yes, this is in fact shocking. As I said in this post, I hoped "the new coalition [...] will have PO as the majority party with PiS following as the (distant?) second." But it wasn't even close.
OBOP & PBS exit polls show the following results: PiS (27.8%), PO (24.1%), SLD (Democratic Left Alliance, 11.2%), LPR (right-wing, nationalist League of Polish Families, 10.4%), Samoobrona (left-wing, populist Self-Defence party, 10.4%), PSL (agrarian party, 5.9%), SdPL (left-wing Social Democracy of Poland, 3.3%), and Democraci.pl (centrist, pro-business party 2.7%). According to these agencies, voter turnout was 38.3%.
GfK Polonia agency exit polls show the following: PiS (28.26%), PO (26.48%), SLD (10.97%), LPR (8.25%), Samoobrona (10.16%), PSL (5.68%), SdPL (3.27%), and Democraci.pl (2.76%). GfK Polonia shows that voter turnout reached 40.4%.What's worse, my father's party, LPR, did much better than expected and could be now an attractive partner for a PiS-led coalition. Both parties share Euro skepticism and many ideals based in so called social justice. This could make pro-market reforms advocated by PO very difficult.
PO leaders Donald Tusk and Jan Rokita could hardly hide their disappointment in interviews following the election, even though they tried to remain diplomatic and gracious.The only hope is that because PiS and PO have enough votes in Parliament to pass constitutional changes and override presidential vetoes they will be forced to deal.
PO's presidential candidate Donald Tusk is expected to easily win the presidential election, which could place him at odds with a government led by the PiS (with the PO as junior coalition partner), especially over issues like tax policy.
PiS is a conservative party in terms of social issues, but, in terms of fiscal policy, it leans heavily towards the left. The PO is generally considered more pro-business and wants to reform Poland's tax policy and introduce flat taxes (15% VAT, 15% corporate and 15% personal income taxes). PiS wants to retain the progressive tax structure and says that the PO's tax plan would hurt the poorest members of society.
Importantly, Canada's marginal effective tax rate (METR) was well above burgeoning economic engines like India at 24.3%, Poland at 20.2% and Ireland, which has slashed its rate to 13.7% and seen economic growth explode.Now I understand why Polish stock markets are at their highest levels ever:
The Warsaw Stock Exchange surged forward yet again on Monday. The WIG-20 index closed up 2.19% at 2,507.41 points, only slightly below its historic high of 2,510 points.
The broad market WIG index was up 1.98% to 33,916.85 points on strong turnover of PLN 1.365 bln.
"Strong turnover shows that the inflow of foreign investors continues," Beskidzki Dom Maklerski analyst Maciej Bobrowski told PAP.
The analyst pointed out that telco TPSA and PKN Orlen fuel were enjoying trade volumes higher than seen during the Friday session and that banks enjoy increased trade.
"These growths seem a little bit mad to me," BZ WBK analyst Tomasz Lesniewski told PAP. "They are far away from the fundamentals now."But who can blame people who are very optimistic about their future. Especially on the eve of what will be, if the polls are correct, a very good election for Polish economy.
The analyst added that it's difficult to say when the rally, driven by foreign capital, will stop. Investors should watch the market closely for any indicators of sentiment reversal, he warned.
October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 May 2013 July 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 May 2015 September 2015 November 2015 December 2015 March 2016